Times Past: July 28, 2020

  • 1942 Athol High School baseball team. File photo

Published: 7/28/2020 5:33:40 PM
Modified: 7/28/2020 5:33:39 PM

Children from the Athol Child Care Connection kicked off their program “The United States,” by visiting Boston. Twenty-one children with their day care providers went to the Boston Common and rode swan boats. They visited the statue honoring the story “Make Way For Ducklings.” After a walk down Newbury Street, the group went into F.A.O. Schwartz, the biggest toy store they have ever seen. After prying them out, they rode to the top of the tallest building in New England, the John Hancock Building.

■Carol A. Curtis of Holyoke, formerly coordinating principal of the Southern Berkshire School District, has been named principal of Athol Middle School, by Superintendent Penny Kleinhans. Curtis arrives after a year in which concerns over student discipline, educational quality and drug use were raised in a student petition and faculty members argued openly over the dismissed principal and vice principal. Her husband, Gary Curtis, is principal of Riverbend Elementary School.

■A 1995 Buick Century, donated by Adams Chevrolet-Buick-Geo, will be awarded for a hole-in-one on the 14th green in a golf tournament at Ellinwood Country Club. The tournament is sponsored by Athol Girl Scouts cadet troop 879 and senior troop 912 to benefit their planned trip to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga.

■Joseph C. Ledoux, of Orange, recently completed a case study of the Athol Enterprise Center Small Business Incubator as part of his masters degree work. The case study focused on improvements to services at the incubator. Ledoux says, “The study’s aim was to get the message out that the businesses housed at the incubator face new opportunities that, if properly nurtured, can restore the local economy and community pride. As part of the study, a thorough review of general incubator characteristics was made to help model and refine the offering here in Athol.” Copies of the study were distributed to selectmen in Orange and Athol, to the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce, to the L.P. Athol Corporation and the Millers River Community Development Corporation.

■The Orange Youth Activities Commission has announced five summer workshops for ages 12 to 19. The workshops are sponsored by the Executive Office of Communities and Development and include art, choral, computer, photography and woodworking.


Christmas bells will ring early for 300 youngsters at Morgan Memorial camps in South Athol as they celebrate Christmas in July. Santa Claus will parachute out of the sky with presents for all, and there will be turkey and all the fixin’s for Sunday dinner.

■Richard Spiller, supervising principal and special education teacher at Pleasant Street School has challenged the administrative decision to move trainable students from his building. In a report to the Athol School Committee, Spiller upholds his objection by saying, “It is only right that trainable students receive the same considerations other children do. To do less is treating them as second class citizens.”

The report noted the needs of children in trainable classes are often misunderstood. It states that isolation of these children condemns them to roles that are detrimental to their personality development. “Why can’t Athol in the great democratic tradition of this country provide these handicapped children with an equal opportunity to be educated as potential contributors to our society?” Spiller said.

■An Athol High School student drug poll, made public by the Athol-Royalston Regional School Committee, indicates that a significant percentage of high school students — approximately 40 percent, based on the available sample — have used drugs at one time or another. According to poll results, the most commonly used drug is marijuana, pills are second and LSD and hallucinogens are third. No student admitted to taking heroin. Commenting on the poll, Mrs. Virginia Pryor, committee member, said, “Drugs are more prevalent in this town than many people realize. Most of us, including the police department, know very little about the extent of this problem.”

■The L.S. Starrett Co. has announced the plans for additional factory space. The addition will cost approximately $1,000,000 and add approximately 55,000 square feet. The building will be erected adjacent to the 1942 addition on the west side of Crescent Street. Part of the addition will be single story and part will be two-story. The receiving area will be moved to the end of the new building, the rest of the first floor to be used for screw machine expansion and the vise department. The top floor will be used to house the automatic machining department.


Donald Girardi, 14-year-old son of Mrs. Ruby Girardi, of Athol, after securing a horse, wagon and 51 customers, plans to deliver milk the old-fashioned way. He will cover Sanders Street, South Athol Road and Cottage Street. He has received his town license and now awaits a license from the Milk Control Board in Boston. The milk he will deliver will be bottled and pasteurized by William H. Blackmer of Highland Dairy.

■The Athol Rotary Club’s new five-piece orchestra, “The Rotary Gruesome Serenaders,” made its debut at an outing at Rotarian William G. Lord’s camp at Packard Lake.

■T/5 Charles Plotkin, son of Mrs. Bessie Plotkin, of Athol, received the Bronze Star Medal from Maj. Gen. L. E. Oliver, commanding general of the Fifth Armored Division, at a ceremony at Nordhausen, Germany. He has been in the European theatre for the past 16 months.

■S/Sgt. Deane E. Wallwork, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Wallwork, of Athol, was presented the Bronze Star Medal in recognition of meritorious service in connection with military operations against the enemy at a formation on a Ninth Air Force airfield in Germany recently.

■The Minute Tapioca Band will present its annual band concert in North Orange. During the concert, a collection will be made for the North Orange church repair fund. This concert always attracts a good number of people from Orange and Athol.

■Interested spectators in the work at Orange Airport recently witnessed the finishing of a cement base for equipment and the acquiring of a good tan at the same time by three Harvard University professors who are experimenting in location and removal of wrinkles by aerial photography.

■Lt. Harding C. MacKnight, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Ralph MacKnight, of Orange, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation reads, in part, as follows: “Ensign Harding MacKnight, USNR, for distinguishing himself by heroism while participating in an aerial flight of a group of carrier-based fighter planes which attacked an enemy heavy cruiser in the battle of Samar Island on Oct. 25, 1944. […] With absolute disregard for personal safety, he dove his lightly armed fighter in repeated attacks on the enemy fortress, silencing most of its lighter anti-aircraft fire. Though his plane was hit and damaged many times by the intense and accurate opposing fire, he skillfully pressed home attack after attack until him ammunition was expended.”

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